The Prevention of Atrocities (Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes) Act 1989 (“Act”) is aimed at countering the multifarious ways in which caste discrimination is played out. The Act is a criminal law that punishes caste-based atrocities against the members of SC/ST by non-SC/ST persons. Despite a stringent law, the conviction rates under the Act are tremendously low and there is a great delay in the investigation of the cases.
On 27 February 2021, the Centre for Law and Policy Research in collaboration with Thamate –…
In 1951, the District Collector of Pune requisitioned certain land for the development of a Kashiwadi Harijan Colony for the upliftment of Dalits. This was challenged by several landowners whose plot was listed to be acquired. The Court, in this case, held that such an acquisition would be discriminatory against non-Dalits under Article 15(1) of the Constitution. It stated that several people from different communities were also disadvantaged. Thus, such an arrangement was deemed to be discriminatory and against public purpose. And so, the Collector’s plan to create a separate settlement for the Dalit community was blocked.
On 23rd January 2021, CLPR organized a workshop titled “Making the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes…
On 27th May 2020, a tragic image of a child playing beside his dead mother made headlines. Unfortunately, this is only one of the many instances, which has brought to light India’s stark class inequalities during the migrant crisis.
The migrant crisis has certainly brought some attention to class inequality in India. However, we must resist the urge to view the crisis only through class. About 16% of the total intra-state migrants in India belong to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 8% to the Scheduled Tribes (STs), almost equal to their share in the total population, as per data from Census 2011. It is then plausible that a significant fraction of migrants attempting to return to their homes during the lockdown are SC/STs. These communities are vulnerable on the account of their class and caste.
In the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989, the executive has in many cases not adhered to the text and spirit of the legislation. However, it appears that Courts are going in this direction as well – all in the name of COVID-19.
On 28th February 2020, CLPR organized a workshop for civil society organisations on ‘Tackling Caste Discrimination through Law’ in Ernakulam in association with the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN). The day was divided into two sessions, – (i) An introduction to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (PoA Act) and the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 (PCRA) and (ii) group activity.
On 18 January 2020, CLPR organised a Learning Session for Lawyers on ‘Tackling Caste Discrimination Through Law’ in Ernakulam in association with the Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association. The workshop aimed at enabling and facilitating a better understanding of caste discrimination laws such as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, The Protection of Civil Rights Act, and 1955, Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (PEMSRA) as well as Equality Bill, 2020.
Neel D’Souza, a Public Policy Student from National Law School of India University, Bengaluru who is working as a research intern at CLPR writes a blog on the topic, “The Pervasiveness of Caste Discrimination amongst Muslims”.
On 10th January, 2020, CLPR organised “Tackling Caste Discrimination Through the Law”, a training workshop for civil society organisations and activists working on issues of caste discrimination in various parts of Tamil Nadu.
CLPR has selected the following five Equality Fellows: Krithika Balu, Itla Ragiri Jayalakshmi, Anima Muyarath, C Prabhu.
Equality Fellows will will dedicate the next 2 years to the better implementation of equality and non-discrimination law in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
On 12th and 13th January 2019 we will conduct interviews to select up to 6 Equality Fellows who will dedicate the next 2 years to the better implementation of equality and non-discrimination law in India. 13 talented candidates will appear before a 4 member panel of prominent activists and human rights advocates: Mihir Desai, Martin Macwan, Anindya Hajra and Jayna Kothari.
Centre for Law and Policy Research organised a consultation to discuss policy brief on reservation for transgender persons in employment and education, as directed by NALSA. It also discussed preliminary findings of a research on caste discrimination CLPR worked on.
The recent gruesome report of the beheading of a minor SC girl in Tamil Nadu for rejecting the advances of an upper caste male once again throws the issue of caste discrimination into sharp focus. Women from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and violence due to the intersection caste and gender. Despite this, we note that crimes against SC and ST women are viewed as either caste based crimes or sex based crimes. Further, while data on caste based crimes is readily available in the NCRB reports, which we have analysed in our previous posts I, II and III, disaggregated data on crimes against women is not presented.
In this post, we explore how courts have performed in respect of crimes against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. We will compare the data from Andhra Pradesh (AP), Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu (TN) with the national figures for 2016.
Having noted that the number of reported crimes against SCs and STs is high, the next stage of the criminal justice process that demands study is the response of the investigating agencies. While a few independent reports have surveyed the response of the police to crimes against SCs and STs, NCRB reports remain the only comprehensive source of such data at the national and state level.
On 21 May 2018, The Wire reported the death of a Dalit man in Gujarat who was allegedly beaten to death when he protested the fact that his wife was asked to clean filth, free of charge. This reporting comes only two months after the decision of Subhash Kashinath Mahajan, where the Supreme Court diluted some of the protections under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (‘Act’). The incident is a striking example of the pervasiveness of caste bias and the prevalence of atrocities in India.
The effects of caste-based discrimination in India have been documented extensively. However, studies on the role caste plays for women, sexual minorities, and persons with disabilities have not found any voice.
On 23rd April 2018, the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (“HRF”) held a Strategic Multi-Actor Round Table (SMART) 2018 to discuss issues related to strengthening the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (“Act”) and Rules in Tamil Nadu and release of the Status Report on the implementation of the Act in Tamil Nadu, in 2015 and 2016.